Does Othering Have Selling Merit?
Perhaps here’s an important selling word; “the”.
I now know this because I heard a Sussex Uni linguist on the radio discussing the 2016 US presidential election. She described Othering. Her definition has sinister overtones of victimisation; “treating people from another group as less human than one’s own group”. Webnews sites were quick to drill down further.
It’s similar to an inversion concept. The classic definition being; the act of changing or being changed from one position, direction, or course to the opposite. So here, where you transpose all your mistakes onto someone else. Your spin being that nothing gone wrong can possibly be your fault. Culpability lies in a different shadow.
So othering is where you pin the blame on a specific person or people that is not you. You actively blame ‘others’.
Making a noun of them – by placing that little ‘the’ in front of their group description – appears the crucial lingual trick in exposing them. In creating an identity for them. One which can be used to vilify them. Pushing all unwanted nastiness away from you and firmly at their door.
Given the widely derided dirty low blow campaign just gone, I’m not completely convinced this could work as a sales tactic.
But let’s work through a real example or two.
Maybe your prospectside foes are incomprehensibly wedded to something bought a fair while back in the past and so unsuited to present-day demands. Could you call them the Twenty-Eleveners? The Five Years Ago-ans? The Sixty-Month Stallers? And gain traction yourself?
Perhaps it would be easier, and stickier, if you can tie them in to an outdated method of doing something. The Quills? The Nokians? The Flat Earthers? But all related to your arena though.
Maybe the real hit is in what you term your supporters?
If you’re going to make a wonderful amount of money, open up a new market or save significant time, then aren’t they all the Thousandaires? The Big Pie Slicers? The Extra-Day-a-Weekers?
It’s worth a think. But rather avoid talking about, say, The Deplorables or The Forgotten for now, hey…